User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 161 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 161
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  1. StevenF.
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    Wonderful, rich, intelligent, reminds us of what we used to think directing was. So many deep and powerful images, wonderful performances, lovely and complex.
  2. ChadS.
    Jan 7, 2008
    9
    Just in case you're impervious to irony, "Little Children" gives you one last chance to reconsider that adjective and noun, "little" and "children", when Brad(Patrick Wilson) and his skateboard part ways; when Lucy offers her mother some comforting words and a pat on the back. Yes, "Little Children" has its false moments; none more so than Sarah's insecurity about her beauty in Just in case you're impervious to irony, "Little Children" gives you one last chance to reconsider that adjective and noun, "little" and "children", when Brad(Patrick Wilson) and his skateboard part ways; when Lucy offers her mother some comforting words and a pat on the back. Yes, "Little Children" has its false moments; none more so than Sarah's insecurity about her beauty in comparison to Kathy(Jennifer Connelly), since we can all see that Kate Winslet is in the same ballpark as Connelly, a "knockout"(Brad's description of his wife) in her own right. But for the most part, "Little Children" is a smartly written, smartly acted film about, yes, angsty affluent white people, but the film is never whiny, never static, because the "little children" grow up, especially the "bully" who picks on Ronnie(Jackie Earle Haley). Expand
  3. CuculizaO.
    Dec 9, 2006
    10
    Hands down, the best movie of the year. The screenplay is intelligent and well-written, the direction visionary and secure, and the performances are all superb. This movie goes in unexpected ways. Chilling and perfect. Don't miss a chance to see it.
  4. AlexA
    Oct 3, 2006
    8
    Worth seeing for Winslet alone. Her performance is touching; lost, warm, human, utterly real... she is quite simply our finest actress. Jackie Earle Hailey is also extraordinary. Overall an engrossing if uneven movie.
  5. Enrique
    Jan 6, 2007
    10
    Nothing less than a masterpiece. Wonderful actig and direction.
  6. DougD.
    Feb 9, 2007
    10
    Wow, I really am surprised to see this movie with such a low user score. I hardly ever give a movie a 10 but Little Children blew me away. It's a character study much like Punch Drunk Love, which specializes in combining melodrama with tense, frightening scenes. Certainly slow to build, but if you appreciate the satire riddled throughout the film you don't mind. The best I saw in 2006.
  7. SilasP.
    Nov 3, 2006
    10
    Oh, brother; a couple of the posters here seem to have big, fat chips on their shoulders. This is a gripping, haunting film, exquisitely written, filmed, and performed. It is a fairy tale for adults, with a profound, existential moral. Field, Perrotta, and the actors do a virtuoso job of making these characters sympathetic, hateful, complex - in a word, human.
  8. MikeA.
    Oct 15, 2006
    10
    I love this movie and everything about it. Start campaigning for the Oscars!
  9. AvrilK.
    Dec 3, 2006
    10
    Best Performance of the year by far!!! Kate Winslet will blow you away!
  10. MaryG.
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    Masterful and moving, beautiful to watch and remarkably funny.
  11. FelixG.
    Oct 8, 2006
    10
    Unflinching in it's satirical approach to suburbia Field has created a character study that resonates long after an initial viewing. Winslet is top-notch in this film and is destined for her 5th nom. Wilson, Emmerich and Haley also add to Todd's tapestry of cinematic genius with career defining performances. This is not a film for everyone but it is definitely one that will stay Unflinching in it's satirical approach to suburbia Field has created a character study that resonates long after an initial viewing. Winslet is top-notch in this film and is destined for her 5th nom. Wilson, Emmerich and Haley also add to Todd's tapestry of cinematic genius with career defining performances. This is not a film for everyone but it is definitely one that will stay in the mind and may even pose questions about perception that we dare not even ask ourselves. A+ Expand
  12. CindyL.
    Feb 4, 2007
    10
    A gem of a film. Wonderful acting, great direction and cinematography. Richly layered, a sleeper that surprised me as I hadn't really heard any buzz on it. One of the best films I've seen.
  13. ChristopherW.
    May 6, 2007
    7
    I was certainly hearing more than echoes from the more well received and, in my opinion, superior 'American Beauty' with this film. Fine performances from a stellar cast, and a piquant narrative structure draw one into this suburban canvas. The 'story book' voiceover narration provides telling details much like a novel, but could indeed be annoying and diverting to I was certainly hearing more than echoes from the more well received and, in my opinion, superior 'American Beauty' with this film. Fine performances from a stellar cast, and a piquant narrative structure draw one into this suburban canvas. The 'story book' voiceover narration provides telling details much like a novel, but could indeed be annoying and diverting to those who do not share such cinematic sensibilities. Definitely not for all tastes, but still well worth checking out! Expand
  14. RobertI.
    Jun 3, 2007
    9
    Unsettling in the way that the best drama can be. Everything in this so-familiar tale seems freshly told and personally resonant. Bold filmmaking, a strong narrative, today's lens.
  15. CurtisS.
    Jun 4, 2007
    9
    The title of this Kate Winslet movie is a triple pun, and it may take you a while to figure out how... There is "brief simulated and suggested graphic sexuality" in this film, but it is not overlong. While strictly speaking it is unnecessary, artistically it does fit the story. One of the puns, and the great value of this film is to show that committing adultery is immature, sinful, and The title of this Kate Winslet movie is a triple pun, and it may take you a while to figure out how... There is "brief simulated and suggested graphic sexuality" in this film, but it is not overlong. While strictly speaking it is unnecessary, artistically it does fit the story. One of the puns, and the great value of this film is to show that committing adultery is immature, sinful, and *childish.* The use of a narrator makes this film very much like a novel, in that we know the thoughts of the characters. The "childish" theme is a great and original idea, and it is illustrated strongly in the final scenes. This one is worth checking out, and thinking about. The dvd cover proclaims it as the best film of the year. This is one of those films that stays in your head for a few days, and hits you hard as you realize the the implications of the theme and plot. Very dramatic, and really holds your attention. Dramatically, this film could be compared to AMERICAN BEAUTY and CRASH. Strongly recommended, with the above caveat. C The most important truths: "...the Word (Jesus) was God..." "...the Word (Jesus) became flesh..." >>John 1:1;14. "He who believes in the Son (Jesus) *has* everlasting life; and He who does not believe the Son (Jesus) shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." >>John 3:36. For by *grace* you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the *gift* of God, *not* of works, lest anyone should boast. >>Ephesians 2:8,9. Believe in Jesus: that He is God, that He suffered and died on the cross for all of your sins: past, present and future; that He was buried, that He physically rose from death on the third day--and you will be immediately forgiven, saved forever, and go to Heaven the minute you die. Expand
  16. agusS
    May 16, 2010
    10
    This is a really good movie, idiots!!!!! the end is amazing if you want to see a movie where everything is fucking perfect go see Cinderella.
  17. rob
    Nov 18, 2006
    10
    Memorable and chilling, kate winslet is perfect.
  18. robertxxx
    Nov 7, 2006
    10
    Brilliant; a tale of deception and discontent, made all the more gripping because of the way a single misstep can push someone to the edge....fearless and revealing.
  19. KitchM.
    Dec 12, 2006
    10
    In my mind this is, by far, the best American film of the year. Mr. Field has crafted yet another Masterpeice. A truely engrossing and sobering look into the human condition.
  20. J.R.
    Dec 18, 2006
    10
    This is one of my favorite films of all time. Subversive, funny, and full of almost unbearable heart-break.
  21. MichaelH
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    Dense, wonderfully acted. Surprising turns with interesting juxtapositions. Is it perfect? No. There are a pacing problems in certain subplots but the strengths more than make up for them. Winslet is riveting.
  22. Dave
    Oct 25, 2006
    10
    Excellent performances all around. Definitely no sophomore jinx for Todd Field, I suspect this film will receive many awards at the end of the year.
  23. DeWayneP.
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    This is a film about puzzles, puzzles with emotional pieces where people keep
  24. ChrisU.
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    I saw this movie 2 days ago and can't stop thinking about it. Smart writing and complex characters are brought vividly to life by Director Field and his gifted cast. The end result is a haunting resonance that sticks with you like that sound of an unseen train and its warning whistle rushing somewhere in the dark night.
  25. Julien
    Jan 12, 2007
    7
    Wonderful direction and screenplay. Little Children is a very intense movie, full of sincere human feelings that can help you to see the world differently. The actors are amazing, and some of them deserve awards for their work here (Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly). "Little Children" is a very good mix between "American Beauty" and "Sex, lies, and videotape".
  26. ScottS.
    Jan 7, 2007
    8
    Imperfect, but at least it attempts greatness, which is more than can be said with most everything released during 2006.
  27. PaulS.
    Feb 23, 2007
    9
    Excellent look at suburban disfunction. Very good movie. Deserves more play time than it got in the local theathers.
  28. Nadie
    Feb 24, 2007
    8
    Well directed and acted. Sometimes slow.
  29. Sam
    Mar 19, 2007
    8
    Great performances and a steady pace overshadows the long running time. Overall, this was just an outstanding, and emotionally moving movie.
  30. MelissaA.
    May 1, 2007
    10
    A film which reflects the harsh realities of life and everyday society. It shows life from each perspective and leaves you speechless. Little children is one of the rare films that can handle harsh topics and bring them to your attention in a way that only your own experiences could tell.
  31. MarkB.
    May 4, 2007
    8
    The Godfather (a little), Gone with the Wind (quite a bit), Jaws (infinity plus one)...and Little Children. What've they all got in common? These are all examples of books whose movie adaptations actually beat the odds and improved on them. Tom Perrotta's contribution to the "let's visit High Property Values Heights and peek behind the doors to see all the hidden spiders The Godfather (a little), Gone with the Wind (quite a bit), Jaws (infinity plus one)...and Little Children. What've they all got in common? These are all examples of books whose movie adaptations actually beat the odds and improved on them. Tom Perrotta's contribution to the "let's visit High Property Values Heights and peek behind the doors to see all the hidden spiders and skeletons" genre is readable but falls prey to all the stumblingblocks inherent in its subject matter: its satire is leadfooted and overstated, it replaces genuine feeling for the plight of its characters with a smug, superior attitude toward them, and in general the novel makes most of the mistakes that the haters of American Beauty unjustly accused that film of making. The fact that Todd Field (In the Bedroom) works so effectually with Perrotta and his source material, managing to sweep away most of the detritus to echo Beauty's famous "Look closer" theme is doubly impressive considering that Field audaciously dares to use (and successfully pulls off) the risky device of an omniscient narrator (Will Lyman, who proves that God sounds a lot less like George Burns or Morgan Freeman or even Charlton Heston than like Philip Baker Hall) . In telling the story of a white-bread upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood whose comfort zone is shaken to the core by the arrival of convicted pedophile Ronnie McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley, who's done a lot of living since his Bad News Bears/ Breaking Away/ Tiger Beat days and whose emaciated countenance is totally contrary to Perrotta's physical description of him), Field effectively fleshes out and humanizes most of the characters, with McGorvey being the major beneficiary: a contrived whodunit angle is wisely dropped altogether, and the drastic move McGorvey makes to scare off a potential girlfriend (the great Jane Adams, demonstrating what her forlorn character from Happiness is most likely going to end up like a few years later) that he knows he'll never have a future with is done out of compassion rather than deliberate cruelty. He's a monster who knows he's one. McGorvey manages to be both a central character and a peripheral one: the movie's true focus is on the lonely, unhappily married and intellectually unfulfilled homemaker/ mother Sarah's affair with the equally frustrated "Prom King" Brad (Patrick Wilson), a househusband whose filmmaker wife (Jennifer Connelly) loves him but treats him with unconscious condesension. All the performances are highly praiseworthy, but with all due respect to Helen Mirren's superb work in The Queen, this should've been Kate Winslet's Oscar year: without sentimentalizing Sarah at all, she gives her a fierceness, an intelligence and a dignity that Perrotta largely denied her...and she does for a blood-red bathing suit what Marilyn Monroe did for a white halter dress in The Seven Year Itch. (The first person who disses Winslet's healthy figure and her admirable willingness to enjoy a serving of fish and chips every now and then gets a bucket of unbuttered popcorn lobbed at them from my section of the theater!) One thought about the title: "Little Children" has been widely thought to be an inference that the suburban parents depicted are more childlike and childish than their toddlers, but it occurred to me that it could also be an oblique reference to a mid-1960s British Invasion Top 40 single of the same name by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas in which the narrator would love to go much further with his inamorata than he's able to because those damned little kids are constantly in the way. Y'think? Expand
  32. MarkK.
    Jun 10, 2007
    7
    There is some promise here, but the characters tend towards the stereotypical; also, running time could have been at least 20 minutes shorter. Overall, the DVD box made promises the movie couldn't deliver upon.
  33. DanC.
    Jun 23, 2007
    9
    An unusual but very good film. Kate Winslet is subtle and brilliant throughout - yet another reason she's one of my favorite actresses. The strange texture of the characters' lives in handled in a sympathetic but realistic way. They are flawed people searching for happiness, but also capable of much love and understanding. See it.
  34. Camille
    Mar 11, 2009
    7
    This is by no means a remarkable film. In short, there isn't much of a story. Rather, there are several beautifully crafted character studies woven together to create an oddly compelling piece of film. While I can't pretend to recommend it for its storytelling value, I can however urge anyone to see it, if only for a few remarkable performances by the cast, especially Jackie This is by no means a remarkable film. In short, there isn't much of a story. Rather, there are several beautifully crafted character studies woven together to create an oddly compelling piece of film. While I can't pretend to recommend it for its storytelling value, I can however urge anyone to see it, if only for a few remarkable performances by the cast, especially Jackie Earle Haley's, which is positively heartbreaking. Expand
  35. MichaelL.
    Nov 4, 2006
    10
    An astounding schievement. A perfect "10". No one is more surprised than I; halfway through the film, I wasn't sure I liked it. But the gut-wrenching emotion, the true suburban terror, and the implication that we're all simply scared "little children" resonated. By film's end, I was a believer. Emotional, funny, jarring, tense and achingly sad, "Little Children" is the An astounding schievement. A perfect "10". No one is more surprised than I; halfway through the film, I wasn't sure I liked it. But the gut-wrenching emotion, the true suburban terror, and the implication that we're all simply scared "little children" resonated. By film's end, I was a believer. Emotional, funny, jarring, tense and achingly sad, "Little Children" is the year's best so far. From the acting to the cinematography to the soundtrack, it's haunting perfection. Expand
  36. [Anonymous]
    Dec 12, 2006
    10
    A flawlessly calibrated directorial achievement; superb script and performances; complex, haunting, and really riveting. Absolutely one of the two best pictures of the year (the other being 'Half Nelson').
  37. MHS
    Oct 22, 2006
    9
    9.5 (football scenes weak) otherwise a brilliant, deeply moving film. As with all great films it stays with you long after the experience of watching it. I have not seen In the bedroom but will so soon as I am in awe of Mr. Field work here.
  38. FrankD
    Dec 24, 2006
    9
    An amazing achievement! This film gives me tremendous hope for the future of American cinema. A compelling story, masterly woven and executed in direction, writing, performances, and design. A perfectly-tuned ensemble cast. Bravo!
  39. AnneH
    Oct 25, 2006
    10
    I heart Kate Winslet! Great performances and this movie is the best picture of the year!
  40. AndyS
    Jan 12, 2007
    7
    An unusual mix of satire and melodrama which worked for me but might not for you if you (a) don't find the satire funny, or (b) find the plot manipulations too obvious and/or contrived, or (c) find the mix between the two tones unbalanced or grating. I liked it a lot, above all because of the great acting which overcomes some sketchily written roles. Todd Fields's direction is An unusual mix of satire and melodrama which worked for me but might not for you if you (a) don't find the satire funny, or (b) find the plot manipulations too obvious and/or contrived, or (c) find the mix between the two tones unbalanced or grating. I liked it a lot, above all because of the great acting which overcomes some sketchily written roles. Todd Fields's direction is smooth if still a bit heavy-handed (though a vast improvement over In The Bedroom). Kate Winslett's American accent is the best I've ever heard from a Brit. Expand
  41. BillyS.
    Jan 26, 2007
    8
    I love it when you go to a movie without any expectations just because it opens without any fanfare on one local screen and it turns out to be that little gem of a film that comes out of nowhere and leaves you wanting to yell to the people in line for Smokin' Aces - "Go see Little Children!! It's worth 10 bucks alot more than the dribble you're going to see!!" Little I love it when you go to a movie without any expectations just because it opens without any fanfare on one local screen and it turns out to be that little gem of a film that comes out of nowhere and leaves you wanting to yell to the people in line for Smokin' Aces - "Go see Little Children!! It's worth 10 bucks alot more than the dribble you're going to see!!" Little Children is brialliantly written, superbly acted,and gorgeously filmed and scored. The Oscar nominations it received are very deserving and makes you wonder if Dreamgirls was actually the most blatantly snubbed film this year. A intelligent story of disallusioned suburban life very reminiscent of American Beauty that deserves all the accolades it has recieved and much more. A top 10 film for 2006. Expand
  42. JonathanH.
    Feb 28, 2007
    10
    Brilliant expose of postmodern irresponsibility.
  43. Rachel
    May 16, 2007
    7
    The narration set the tone - that of a documentary about animals in the wild. Of course, suburbia may not seem very wild (on the surface), but this film shows the most animalistic moments of human life. (Pool scene cheaply reminiscent of Jaws.)
  44. ChristopherD.
    Jun 12, 2007
    9
    This is a finely woven piece of film. A story with an edge that teases and does not overplay itself. This is how an ensemble piece should be made and the surprise is that Altman did not shoot this film.
  45. MattS.
    Dec 23, 2009
    9
    This is one of the most captivating films of the decade. Todd Field has created another masterpiece that is filled to the brim with lush cinematography and some of the best acting this side of the director's other film, In the Bedroom, with especially great performances coming from Jackie Earle Haley, Phyllis Somerville, and Kate Winslet.
  46. Jun 11, 2013
    8
    This is how you make a drama. The director's very keen way of portraying everything is quite spectacular. It is deeply thought provoking, chilling, funny, and quite scary at times thanks to the wonderful performances by the cast.
  47. Jun 2, 2013
    8
    For a film that is well over 2 hours in length, Little Children never collapses under the many characters, emotions, and themes it presents. Solid film; well acted. Good lead performances from Winslet (as usual) and Wilson, and some really good supporting roles for Jennifer Connelly and Jackie Earl Haley.
  48. Aug 24, 2014
    8
    Little children has a simple plot with various characters and emotions.Jackie Earle Harlley is very good in his role,he even look sympathic. Patrick Wilson and Kate Winslate are not extraordinary in their role but they were okay.Jennifer Connelly was awesome like always and the movie ended pretty good.
  49. May 10, 2014
    8
    The clever, wry narration is one of the best parts of the movie. The acting is excellent all around. However, Little Children is a bit washed out compared to other examples of suburban satire, such as the sublime American Beauty.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 40
    It's an unholy mess, simultaneously too Gothic and too sarcastic, that preaches liberation and delivers only puritanism. It's a craftsmanlike but robotic imitation of "interesting" filmmaking, only in patches, and by accident, the real thing.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    90
    Providing richness of detail and metaphor, elegantly blueprinted themes and impressive mastery of a constantly shifting tone, Little Children does just that. It is a deeply satisfying film.
  3. 90
    The result is a movie that is challenging, accessible and hard to stop thinking about...But in too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality -- even more than its considerable beauty -- that distinguishes Little Children from its peers.